The Hermon Lineage in the Plantation World of Ceylon & Lanka

Richard Hermon to Errol Fernando, early December 2022, responding to “The Power of Privilege: Illegitimate Progeny in the Plantations of Ceylon and Beyond” **

Dear Errol

As a Eurasian myself on both sides, since both my grandfathers were Brits and both my grandmothers were Sinhalese: one Kandyan from Welimada, and one Low-Country from Baddegama to whom both my grandfathers were married.

I also take exception to some “Burghers “looking down upon us with disdain. specially very dark skinned “Burghers” who claim to be of “pure “Dutch extraction, [but] when queried as to the reason for their dark skin colour, The explanation is invariably that they have spent a long time in the tropics and have been under the sun!!!. What a load of codswallop!!!! Now however the Burghers consider Eurasians to also be Burghers!! Actually, many Burghers could more accurately be termed “Eurasians”!!!

My mother always told me to be proud of my heritage and that I had the best of the east and west in me!!!

My grandfather, Wilbraham Hermon,  was the founder of a dynasty of Ceylon (Sri Lankan) planters, whose connections were so widespread that we were the single largest family group in the plantation Industry, encompassing by marriage such families (to name a few) as the Winter Family (my Mother’s family) and the Emersleys,’ Murrays,’ Franklins,’ ‘Nicols,’ ,Barnetts , Rollos,’ Reiths,’ Durrants,’ Richardsons,’ Fairweathers,’ Olivers,’ Roberts,’,Van Der Poortens,’ etc, etc. I hope that I will be able to write an article one day on the Hermon Dynasty in the Plantations in Ceylon!! The only one still involved is Dan Seevaratnam (married to Pauline Hermon)

I agree with you that I do not recall a Paynter’s home in Kandy. The home in India in the foothills of the Himalayas, was also founded by the Paynter family and Ada Karunatilake’s (nee HIll) father was there .in India (the name of the place escapes me).

I think that it is not quite accurate to say that all Eurasians were illegitimate. Some were born of parents not formally married. However, the parents lived in what we now call a “de facto “relationship and the women were considered the common law wives of the father and in long term relationship.

Also remember that many of the Eurasians were well educated, great sportsmen, held excellent jobs, worked in the plantation Industry and also were Directors of Plantation Firms.

I think that I will leave it there for the moment my old Buddy,

With warm Regards,  Dickie


** As I write now in mid-December 2022, Richard Hermon is seriously ill. Let those who believe in the power of prayer and goodwill seek support from the Heavens above for his recoveryEditor, Thuppahi


Quite by chance I discovered that Dickie Hermon has been a writer/historian of sorts…. Describing and illustrating his family’s planting days and life in Ceylon aka Sri Lanka…. and then moving on to some moments in Austrlia.  SO: here is a list of some of his work.


Anon: “Charles S Braine: A Rajah of a Planter in British Ceylon,” 22 September 2022,

Joe Paiva: “Thoughts on Planter Lifeways in Ceylon evoked by the Braine Biography,” 22 September 2022, ……………………………………………………

Michael Roberts:  “Orphaned, Abandoned: Illegitimate. Children cared for by the Evelyn Nurseries of Kandy, 1920 et seq,” ………………….

Michael Roberts: “The Nomenclature and Lineaments of White-Brown Cohabitation in British Ceylon. A Puzzle,” 17 October 2021, ………………..

TMZ Careem: “Disappearing Burgher and Malay Surnames …,” 30 January 2017,

Nan: “About Portiuguese Burghers and Kaffirs,” 4 November 2017

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